24 Inspirational English Quotes to Help You Improve Your English Language Learning

While the journey in learning another language takes time and it undoubtedly is filled with obstacles, reading a quote or two sometimes gives us the inspiration we need to continue. Here’s hoping that these quotes do just that. That they inspire. And they offer renewed strength to continue and reach your goals.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.

Nelson Mandela

Have you taken time to notice what others feel like when you attempt to speak their language… even if it is a few words?  It’s okay if you make mistakes. Remember, it is the effort that truly counts. How do you feel when someone tries to speak your native language? I bet they feel proud of you and honored that you would attempt to communicate with them in their language.

One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.

Frank Smith

Perhaps this quote means that by knowing more than one language, your whole future expands. There are opportunities for learning and for future careers. No doubt you know someone whose doors have been opened through knowledge of a second language. If you think a bit, you will probably agree that there are many careers that use a second language. And in accepting one of these, the person obviously is opening a new door in their future life.

Languages have a way of doing that. They open up your brain and you truly become more open-minded and more understanding of so many things. You see many things from a different perspective. You understand history and geography. You view art and music differently.

Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can; there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.

Sarah Caldwell

Learning is truly immeasurable. It impacts your life exponentially. Learning has a power to change your life. You may not see this at the present time, especially when you are trying to learn ESL and you are running into some obstacles, but in the end (just like most other things when you mature), you will see the value of this learning. Then you will be appreciative of what English skills you have gained.

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.

Chinese Proverb

Once you learn something, you take that knowledge with you forever. It will be a source of continual learning. No one can take that away from you. You can never lose it. It is extremely valuable.  There is no worth that can be attached to your learning. That is why it is so “treasured”. You may try to share it with others, but it is yours to keep.

To have another language is to possess a second soul.


This quote simply means that you can understand so much more because you have tapped into another culture. By doing so, you can think, understand and feel another culture… which is like having a second soul. To have one soul and to feel and connect with life is a wonderful feeling. But can you imagine being able to do this with two or more languages?

Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This quote means that you can’t really begin to understand your own language until you know another one. You may not have taken the time to think about all of the facets of a language from vocabulary, etymology of words, slang, idioms, common expressions, parts of speech, proper grammar, etc. But when you learn another language, this process forces you to explore the new language. You need to think about the parts that make up a language. You see that a language is interwoven with so many skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.

Rita Mae Brown

Language is related to culture. When you study another language you begin to understand the culture that uses this language. You see the history of these people and where they are going in the future. You experience their world.

Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Language is the way that you express yourself. You think in words and you exchange thoughts with words. That is why language is so important. Without language you would not be able to think about the world and connect to others with these thoughts. You would not be able to listen to others and understand them.

I admire people who dare to take the language, English, and understand it and understand the melody

Maya Angelou

This quote from a famous writer gives credit to the person who really understands words (e.g. a poet, an orator, a writer, etc.) in any language to a certain level that they know the beauty (i.e. the melody) of the words. They know what words mean and how to use them.

All speech, written or spoken, is a dead language, until it finds a willing and prepared hearer.

Robert Louis Stevenson

You can have the best ideas (either expressed in a written or oral way) but unless you have an audience that is open to listening to what you have to say, it is all meaningless. The audience does not have to agree with you, but they need to be receptive and engage in active listening. Otherwise, the speech is really a “dead language” and has no meaning or value.

Your purpose is to make your audience see what you saw, hear what you heard, feel what you felt. Relevant detail, couched in concrete, colorful language, is the best way to recreate the incident as it happened and to picture it for the audience.

Dale Carnegie

Carnegie talks about the choice of words to convey something to an audience. This is necessary to deliver a relevant “speech” and to gain confidence while speaking while overcoming the fear of speaking. The audience can begin to see, hear and feel what you did. That is the power of language and how you can develop the skill of speaking so the audience can experience what you want them to experience.

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

If your language skills and progress (with a second language) are not at a high enough level, then this holds you back from engaging in life and sharing what you really are. You cannot be wholly yourself when you use this second language if you do not know it at a competent level. In the end, how well you know a second language does limit how you live and experience life. You are left to understand mostly your own culture, which then is your world rather than an expanded world in knowing more than one language.

A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language

W. H. Auden

Poets know how to put words together and in doing so convey a deepness of thought. They enjoy words and connecting with them. According to Auden, poets love language.

Our language is the reflection of ourselves. A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers.

Cesar Chavez

From any given language, society can tell a lot about the culture. They can trace the history of the culture to understand the people. As these people learned, we can learn more about them, too. We know of their people and their thoughts.

Learning a foreign language, and the culture that goes with it, is one of the most useful things we can do to broaden the empathy and imaginative sympathy and cultural outlook of children.

Michael Gove

Most of us know the value of knowing a second language. Many as ESL learners use the English language in school and at work. It would make sense then that these adults realize the value of a second language for our children. Not just our own biological children, but the children of our own country and for the children of the world. If children can begin to learn about other cultures in the world, then they will be more understanding individuals at any age. They will be able to eliminate discrimination and embrace diversity all around the world.

A different language is a different vision of life.

Federico Fellini

This quote shows you that not only does everyone have a different perspective on life, but people from different cultures have different views that are influenced by their culture, as well. When you know another language, you get a glimpse into how a different people think and live. That is a different vision of life. Your world opens up to include that other world. You understand “life beyond your own life, your own culture”.

Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.

Benjamin Whorf

With language we can think, learn, and grow. Without it, would we be able to think? Learn? Grow?

Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides.

Rita Brown

We may not understand or see how the moon causes the tides, but it does have a constant impact. This is much like language with its hidden potential. Language allows us to do so much more that we don’t really stop to think about the power behind language. Just like tides which seem so natural, language appears to be natural, too. Unless we have a reason to think about tides, we don’t. Unless we have a reason to think about language, we don’t.

Language is power, life and the instrument of culture, the instrument of domination and liberation.

Angela Carter

A culture needs language to grow, to expand, and to give life to its people. That is why Carter describes language as she does. Language is “power, life and the instrument of domination and liberation.” With it, we can do so much. Without it, we are very limited.

Language is the soul of intellect, and reading is the essential process by which that intellect is cultivated beyond the commonplace experiences of everyday life. It's a language that is adaptive to emotions, ideas and feelings.

Katherine West

Words are important. Reading them helps you to gain knowledge and wisdom about endless things that you are not limited to by your experiences. These thoughts then effect your emotions, ideas and feelings. Language is at the base of all knowledge. It truly helps develop our intellect and our emotions, ideas and feelings.

The quality of our thoughts is bordered on all sides by our facility with language.

J. Michael Straczynski

Similar to previous quotes listed here, language helps us think. Our language capacity impacts our ability to think.

I worked as hard as I could. I'm not fluent but I felt like I made real headway. The language is beautiful.

Lisa Williams

This quote shows that language learning takes effort. It takes time. It is difficult. But with diligence, you can learn and progress. And you realize that the newly acquired language is a positive thing. You see the value. You appreciate what the newly acquired language offers you. This spurs you on to make more progress towards fluency.

Words are some of the most powerful and important things I know....Language is the tool of love and the weapon of hatred. It's the bright red warning flag of danger--and the stone foundation of diplomacy and peace.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

We need language to express ourselves. With language we can tell others our feelings, wants, and needs. These include some of the most profound feelings of love, peace, and friendship amidst negative feelings, as well.


Do you have any thoughts about these quotes? Do you have any additional quotes about language that you want to add? Please write to me at the address below and share your inspiration. I wish you all the best on your ESL journey.

Tired student sitting with many books, with her head in hand.

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